Course Description: English 103 is designed to offer you practice and instruction in writing with other texts. You will be learning to read critically and respond in writing to what you have read. Another emphasis of this course will be constructing arguments in writing.
Required Texts and Materials:
1) Marting, Janet. Commitment,
Voice and Clarity: An Argument Rhetoric and Reader. Lincolnwood, IL:
2) Rosen, Leonard. Decisions. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn Bacon, 1998.
3) Two high-density computer disks.
4) Two manila folders (one for formal writing, one for informal)
Required Coursework: Your grade for this class will reflect your competency in completing the following requirements:
--Writing Portfolio (50%): We will be doing three units of writing this semester: viewpoint/argument papers, analyzing arguments, and researching arguments. In each unit, you will do some formal and some informal writing. Your final portfolio for this class, which is due at the end of class, will feature one paper from each of these three units and may include a mix of formal or informal writing (revised into formal writing) that equals at least 8 pages. Although you are required to do every assigned paper and you will be turning each in for an initial evaluation, the largest part of your grade for this class will be based on the three papers you choose to feature in your portfolio. The final portfolio should represent the best work you can possibly do. You will have the entire semester to work on and revise these papers, so my grading standards for them are very high. I expect them to demonstrate every quality of good college writing. Although you will select certain essays to feature in the portfolio (meaning that your portfolio grade will be based ONLY on those essays), you must include ALL four formal essays and all 10 informal papers in your portfolio in order to pass the class.
The advantage of the portfolio system is that it allows you to continue to revise your writing, using the input of your classmates and instructor. Each essay is a "work in progress." This system also allows you to feature and concentrate on your best work, setting aside those projects which simply didn't "click" for you. This system requires that you be responsible and disciplined in writing and revising your work; you must work on essays even when there aren't due dates looming before you.
One advantage I see in the portfolio system is that, because you receive no letter grades until the end of the semester, you are not penalized for your early work; not having a letter grade also forces you to pay attention to the written comments on your essays. The best way to know how you are doing in my class is for you to come to my office and talk to me; I can tell you very specifically what I think your overall strengths and weaknesses are.
--Formal Essays (20%): As I mentioned before, you will be writing essays within each of the three units of the semester for a total of four formal papers of varying lengths. By "formal," I mean that the essay has been written and revised (in other words, it is not a first or rough draft), typed, double-spaced, edited, and proofread. These formal drafts will receive extensive comments and feedback from me and a numerical score of 0-5 indicating their overall quality; the numbers correspond to the "Standards for Evaluation" sheet which I will give you early in the semester, and the number can be multiplied by 5 to arrive at the score which will be recorded in the grade book.
After this initial evaluation, you are then encouraged to continue to revise and improve the drafts for inclusion in your portfolio. These formal drafts will be due on a specific date for initial evaluation, and I will not accept them late without prior arrangements. See the Late Policy. As I mentioned before, ALL FOUR FORMAL ESSAYS MUST BE IN YOUR FINAL PORTFOLIO IN ORDER TO PASS THE CLASS.
Viewpoint Paper due 2/12
Synthesis Paper due 3/19
Argument w/Source due 4/5
Researched Paper due 4/30
--Informal Writings (15%): In and out of class, you will be doing some short writing exercises to practice specific skills which you will need to complete longer writing assignments. There are ten of these informal writings noted on your course schedule; others may come up as the semester progresses. These writings will vary in length, requirements, level of formality, and point values; I will discuss these things as I make each assignment. Be sure to keep all of these writings together in one folder for the entire semester, as I will want to see the entire collection near the end of the semester. The informal essays noted on your course schedule ARE REQUIRED TO BE IN YOUR FINAL PORTFOLIO. One thing you should be aware of is that these kinds of assignments CANNOT be made up; in other words, if we do an in-class writing on a day you are absent, you cannot do it later and turn it in.
CD/Book Review #1 due 1/22
CD/Book Review #2 due 1/29
Viewpoint due 2/5
Summary #1 due 2/22
Arg Analysis due 2/26
Argue with a Source due 3/26
Summary #2 due 3/29
Research Proposal due 4/12
Mesearch paper due 4/16
Annotated Biblio due 4/21
--Ednet Discussions (5%): As a way to encourage discussion outside of class, you will be required to participate in at least 5 asynchronous discussions using the Ednet. I will post several topics in the "Ednet Discussion" file on our class conference, and you can choose which discussions you would like to join. The ashynchronous chat feature works like an electronic bulletin board: you post messages and read and respond to the messages posted by others. As with classroom discussions, your participation (and common rules of courtesy) are all that I will really evaluate you on; in other words, grammar, spelling, structure, organization, etc., will not be evaluated. To earn full points for participation in a discussion, you must contribute at least 3 postings of 100 words each (in other words, you must post 3 messages to each of the discussions you choose, and your total contribution to each discussion should be about 300 words). I'm not really interested in counting words; what I'm trying to encourage is thoughtful electronic discussion outside of class. If you are really contributing your thoughts, opinions, experiences, ideas, you won't have to worry about word counts.
You should also always feel free to post your own topics for discussion and to use the Ednet class conference to ask questions, get help, explore possible paper ideas, etc.
--Final Exam (10%): Your final exam will be a short in-class essay arguing for a certain viewpoint or opinion. As a class, we will create a list of possible topics for this essay.
Your final grade, then, will be calculated as follows:
Writing Portfolio 500
Formal Essays 200
Informal Writings 150
Ednet Discussions 50
Final Exam 100
I do not accept late work
unless we have made PRIOR arrangements. You may not "make-up" or receive
extensions on informal writings. You may receive extensions on due dates
for formal essays by having a verbal exchange with me, either in person,
over the phone, or in writing, at least 24 hours BEFORE the due date. You
lose two things by missing a due date: the points in the initial evaluation,
and, more importantly, my feedback for revision. Remember, the essay
must still be done and included in your final portfolio.
Plagiarism will result in failure. Do not represent someone else's ideas, words, or concepts as your own.
My doors and ears are always open. Please talk to me about your writing concerns; it is both my job and my privilege to read and respond to your writing.
I check my e-mail very regularly, and I highly recommend that you take advantage of this very easy and reliable way to contact me. You may also find me "on-line" with the Ednet in the evenings or in the afternoons on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I am not on campus, and you are always welcome to use the "private chat" function to talk to me then.
This class meets once per week in a computer lab; I expect you always to be ready to take constructive advantage of this time. The computers available to you offer several different word-processing programs and should be compatible with whatever you are using at home.
We will also be using the college's Ednet computer network in this class. This system provides you with an e-mail account and will allow you to have in-class discussions, to turn in papers electronically, and to send messages both synchronously and asynchronously. Ednet is available on most of the computers on campus, both in the Tech Center and the library, and is also accessible through the Internet, so you can use it from home, if you have Internet access there. CLI-220 is also an open lab for student use when not reserved by a class; the Internet, the Ednet, and various word processing programs are available there for your use.
I reserve the privilege to ask any student to leave who is not prepared for class (having completed assigned readings and writings) or is not actively participating (like playing Solitaire or staring out the window). Come to class prepared to work.